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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9221
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Preliminary Studies, 48


nanfor, inasmuch as he is a relation of the wise Abraham, he partakes of that light which is according to wisdom; but inasmuch as he did not join him in his emigration from the crated to the uncreated being, from the world to the Creator of the world, he has acquired only a lame and imperfect knowledge, intermittent and delaying, or rather put together like a lifeless statue;


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

12 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 16.1 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

16.1. וְשָׂרַי אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם לֹא יָלְדָה לוֹ וְלָהּ שִׁפְחָה מִצְרִית וּשְׁמָהּ הָגָר׃ 16.1. וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת־זַרְעֵךְ וְלֹא יִסָּפֵר מֵרֹב׃ 16.1. Now Sarai Abram’s wife bore him no children; and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar."
2. Xenophon, Memoirs, 1.4.2-1.4.19 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1.4.2. I will first state what I once heard him say about the godhead in conversation with Aristodemus the dwarf, as he was called. On learning that he was not known to sacrifice or pray or use divination, and actually made a mock of those who did so, he said: Tell me, Aristodemus, do you admire any human beings for wisdom? I do, he answered. 1.4.3. Tell us their names. In epic poetry Homer comes first, in my opinion; in dithyramb, Melanippides; in tragedy, Sophocles; in sculpture, Polycleitus; in painting, Zeuxis. 1.4.4. Which, think you, deserve the greater admiration, the creators of phantoms without sense and motion, or the creators of living, intelligent, and active beings? Oh, of living beings, by far, provided only they are created by design and not mere chance. Suppose that it is impossible to guess the purpose of one creature’s existence, and obvious that another’s serves a useful end, which, in your judgment, is the work of chance, and which of design? Presumably the creature that serves some useful end is the work of design. 1.4.5. Do you not think then that he who created man from the beginning had some useful end in view when he endowed him with his several senses, giving eyes to see visible objects, ears to hear sounds? Would odours again be of any use to us had we not been endowed with nostrils? What perception should we have of sweet and bitter and all things pleasant to the palate had we no tongue in our mouth to discriminate between them? 1.4.6. Besides these, are there not other contrivances that look like the results of forethought? Thus the eyeballs, being weak, are set behind eyelids, that open like doors when we want to see, and close when we sleep: on the lids grow lashes through which the very winds filter harmlessly: above the eyes is a coping of brows that lets no drop of sweat from the head hurt them. The ears catch all sounds, but are never choked with them. Again, the incisors of all creatures are adapted for cutting, the molars for receiving food from them and grinding it. And again, the mouth, through which the food they want goes in, is set near the eyes and nostrils; but since what goes out is unpleasant, the ducts through which it passes are turned away and removed as far as possible from the organs of sense. With such signs of forethought in these arrangements, can you doubt whether they are the works of chance or design? No, of course not. 1.4.7. When I regard them in this light they do look very like the handiwork of a wise and loving creator. What of the natural desire to beget children, the mother’s desire to rear her babe, the child’s strong will to live and strong fear of death? Undoubtedly these, too, look like the contrivances of one who deliberately willed the existence of living creatures. 1.4.8. Do you think you have any wisdom yourself? Oh! Ask me a question and judge from my answer. And do you suppose that wisdom is nowhere else to be found, although you know that you have a mere speck of all the earth in your body and a mere drop of all the water, and that of all the other mighty elements you received, I suppose, just a scrap towards the fashioning of your body? But as for mind, which alone, it seems, is without mass, do you think that you snapped it up by a lucky accident, and that the orderly ranks of all these huge masses, infinite in number, are due, forsooth, to a sort of absurdity? 1.4.9. Yes; for I don’t see the master hand, whereas I see the makers of things in this world. Neither do you see your own soul, Cyropaedia VIII. Vii. 17. which has the mastery of the body; so that, as far as that goes, you may say that you do nothing by design, but everything by chance. Here Aristodemus exclaimed: 1.4.10. Really, Socrates, I don’t despise the godhead. But I think it is too great to need my service. Then the greater the power that deigns to serve you, the more honour it demands of you. 1.4.11. I assure you, that if I believed that the gods pay any heed to man, I would not neglect them. Then do you think them unheeding? In the first place, man is the only living creature that they have caused to stand upright; and the upright position gives him a wider range of vision in front and a better view of things above, and exposes him less to injury. Secondly, to grovelling creatures they have given feet that afford only the power of moving, whereas they have endowed man with hands, which are the instruments to which we chiefly owe our greater happiness. 1.4.12. Again, though all creatures have a tongue, the tongue of man alone has been formed by them to be capable of contact with different parts of the mouth, so as to enable us to articulate the voice and express all our wants to one another. Once more, for all other creatures they have prescribed a fixed season of sexual indulgence; in our case the only time limit they have set is old age. 1.4.13. Nor was the deity content to care for man’s body. What is of yet higher moment, he has implanted in him the noblest type of soul. For in the first place what other creature’s soul has apprehended the existence of gods who set in order the universe, greatest and fairest of things? And what race of living things other than man worships gods? And what soul is more apt than man’s to make provision against hunger and thirst, cold and heat, to relieve sickness and promote health, to acquire knowledge by toil, and to remember accurately all that is heard, seen, or learned? 1.4.14. For is it not obvious to you that, in comparison with the other animals, men live like gods, by nature peerless both in body and in soul? For with a man’s reason and the body of an ox we could not carry out our wishes, and the possession of hands without reason is of little worth. Do you, then, having received the two most precious gifts, yet think that the gods take no care of you? What are they to do, to make you believe that they are heedful of you? 1.4.15. I will believe when they send counsellors, as you declare they do, saying, Do this, avoid that. But when the Athenians inquire of them by divination and they reply, do you not suppose that to you, too, the answer is given? Or when they send portents for warning to the Greeks, or to all the world? Are you their one exception, the only one consigned to neglect? 1.4.16. Or do you suppose that the gods would have put into man a belief in their ability to help and harm, if they had not that power; and that man throughout the ages would never have detected the fraud? Do you not see that the wisest and most enduring of human institutions, cities and nations, are most god-fearing, and that the most thoughtful period of life is the most religious? 1.4.17. Be well assured, my good friend, that the mind within you directs your body according to its will; and equally you must think that Thought indwelling in the Universal disposes all things according to its pleasure. For think not that your eye can travel over many furlongs and yet god’s eye cannot see the the whole world at once; that your soul can ponder on things in Egypt and in Sicily, and god’s thought is not sufficient to pay heed to the whole world at once. 1.4.18. Nay, but just as by serving men you find out who is willing to serve you in return, by being kind who will be kind to you in return, and by taking counsel, discover the masters of thought, so try the gods by serving them, and see whether they will vouchsafe to counsel you in matters hidden from man. Then you will know that such is the greatness and such the nature of the deity that he sees all things Cyropaedia VIII. vii. 22. and hears all things alike, and is present in all places and heedful of all things. 1.4.19. To me at least it seemed that by these sayings he kept his companions from impiety, injustice, and baseness, and that not only when they were seen by men, but even in solitude; since they ever felt that no deed of theirs could at any time escape the gods.
3. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 2.87-2.97 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.87. Let someone therefore prove that it could have been better. But no one will ever prove this, and anyone who essays to improve some detail will either make it worse or will be demanding an improvement impossible in the nature of things. "But if the structure of the world in all its parts is such that it could not have been better whether in point of utility or beauty, let us consider js is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary the parts of the world are in such a condition that they could not possibly have cohered together if they were not controlled by intelligence and by divine providence. If then that produces of nature are better than those of art, and if art produces nothing without reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be without reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you recognize the exercise of art; when you observe from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesitate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and by art; when you look at a sun‑dial or a water-clock, you infer that it tells the time by art and not by chance; how then can it be consistent to suppose that the world, which includes both the works of art in question, the craftsmen who made them, and everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and of reason? 2.88. Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Posidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the heavens every twenty-four hundred, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being? This thinkers however raise doubts about the world itself from which all things arise and have their being, and debate whether it is the produce of chance or necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelligence; they think more highly of the achievement of Archimedes in making a model of the revolutions of the firmament than of that of nature in creating them, although the perfection of the original shows a craftsmanship many times as great as does the counterfeit. 2.89. Just as the shield in Accius who had never seen a ship before, on descrying in the distance from his mountain‑top the strange vessel of the Argonauts, built by the gods, in his first amazement and alarm cries out: so huge a bulk Glides from the deep with the roar of a whistling wind: Waves roll before, and eddies surge and swirl; Hurtling headlong, it snort and sprays the foam. Now might one deem a bursting storm-cloud rolled, Now that a rock flew skyward, flung aloft By wind and storm, or whirling waterspout Rose from the clash of wave with warring wave; Save 'twere land-havoc wrought by ocean-flood, Or Triton's trident, heaving up the roots of cavernous vaults beneath the billowy sea, Hurled from the depth heaven-high a massy crag. At first he wonders what the unknown creature that he beholds may be. Then when he sees the warriors and hears the singing of the sailors, he goes on: the sportive dolphins swift Forge snorting through the foam — and so on and so on — Brings to my ears and hearing such a tune As old Silvanus piped. 2.90. Well then, even as the shepherd at the first sight thinks he sees some lifeless and iimate object, but afterwards is led by clearer indications to begin to suspect the true nature of the thing about which he had previously been uncertain, so it would have been the proper course for the philosophers, if it so happened that the first sight of the world perplexed them, afterwards when they had seen its definite and regular motions, and all its phenomena controlled by fixed system and unchanging uniformity, to infer the presence not merely of an inhabitant of this celestial and divine abode, but also of a ruler and governor, the architect as it were of this mighty and monumental structure. "But as it is they appear to me to have no suspicion even of the marvels of the celestial and terrestrial creation. 2.91. For in the first place the earth, which is situated in the centre of the world, is surrounded on all sides by this living and respirable substance named the air. 'Air' is a Greek word, but yet it has by this time been accepted in use by our race, and in fact passes current as Latin. The air in turn is embraced by the immeasurable aether, which consists of the most elevated portions of fire. The term 'aether' also we may borrow, and employ it like 'air' as a Latin word, though Pacuvius provides his readers with a translation: What I speak of, we call heaven, but the Greeks it 'aether' call — just as though the man who says this were not a Greek! 'Well, he is talking Latin,' you may say. Just so, if we won't suppose we are hearing him talk Greek; in another passage Pacuvius tells us: A Grecian born: my speech discloses that. 2.92. But let us return to more important matters. From aether then arise the innumerable fires of the heavenly bodies, chief of which is the sun, who illumines all things with most brilliant light, and is many times greater and vaster than the whole earth; and after him the other stars of unmeasured magnitudes. And these vast and numerous fires not merely do no harm to the earth and to terrestrial things, but are actually beneficial, though with the qualification that were their positions altered, the earth would inevitably be burnt up by such enormous volumes of heat when uncontrolled and untempered. 2.93. At this point must I not marvel that there should be anyone who can persuade himself that there are certain solid and indivisible particles of matter borne along by the force of gravity, and that the fortuitous collision of those particles produces this elaborate and beautiful world? I cannot understand why he who considers it possible for this to have occurred should not all think that, if a counts number of copies of the one-and‑twenty letters of alphabet, made of gold or what you will, were thrown together into some receptacle and then shaken out on the ground, it would be possible that they should produce the Annals of Ennius, all ready for the reader. I doubt whether chance could possibly succeed in producing even a single verse! 2.94. Yet according to the assertion of your friends, that out of particles of matter not endowed with heat, nor with any 'quality' (the Greek term poiotes), nor with sense, but colliding together at haphazard and by chance, the world has emerged complete, or rather a countless number of worlds are some of them being born and some perishing at every moment of time — yet if the clash of atoms can create a world, why can it not produce a colonnade, a temple, a house, a city, which are less and indeed much less difficult things to make? The fact is, they indulge in such random babbling about the world that for my part I cannot think that they have ever looked up at this marvellously beautiful sky — which is my next topic. 2.95. So Aristotle says brilliantly: 'If there were beings who had always lived beneath the earth, in comfortable, well‑lit dwellings, decorated with statues and pictures and furnished with all the luxuries enjoyed by persons thought to be supremely happy, and who though they had never come forth above the ground had learnt by report and by hearsay of the existence of certain deities or divine powers; and then if at some time the jaws of the earth were opened and they were able to escape from their hidden abode and to come forth into the regions which we inhabit; when they suddenly had sight of the earth and the seas and the sky, and came to know of the vast clouds and mighty winds, and beheld the sun, and realized not only its size and beauty but also its Ptolemaic in causing the day by shedding light over all the sky, and, after night had darkened the earth, they then saw the whole sky spangled and adorned with stars, and the changing phases of the moon's light, now waxing and now waning, and the risings and settings of all these heavenly bodies and their courses fixed and changeless throughout all eternity, — when they saw these things, surely they would think that the gods exist and that these mighty marvels are their handiwork.' 2.96. Thus far Aristotle; let us for our part imagine a darkness as dense as that which is said to have once covered the neighbouring districts on the occasion of an eruption of the volcano Etna, so that for two days no man could recognize his fellow, and when on the third day the sun shone upon them, they felt as if they had come to life again: well, suppose that after darkness had prevailed from the beginning of time, it similarly happened to ourselves suddenly to behold the light of day, what should we think of the splendour of the heavens? But daily recurrence and habit familiarize our indicates with the sight, and we feel no surprise or curiosity as to the reasons for things that we see always; just as if it were the novelty and not rather the importance of phenomena that ought to arouse us to inquire into their causes. 2.97. Who would not deny the name of human being to a man who, on seeing the regular motions of the heaven and the fixed order of the stars and the accurate interconnexion and interrelation of all things, can deny that these things possess any rational design, and can maintain that phenomena, the wisdom of whose ordering transcends the capacity of our wisdom to understand it, take place by chance? When we see something moved by machinery, like an orrery or clock or many other such things, we do not doubt that these contrivances are the work of reason; when therefore we behold the whole compass of the heaven moving with revolutions of marvellous velocity and executing with perfect regularity the annual changes of the seasons with absolute safety and security for all things, how can we doubt that all this is effected not merely by reason, but by a reason that is transcendent and divine?
4. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 68-70, 67 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

67. Therefore giving no consideration to anything whatever, neither to the men of his tribe, nor to those of his borough, nor to his fellow disciples, nor to his companions, nor those of his blood as sprung from the same father or the same mother, nor to his country, nor to his ancient habits, nor to the customs in which he had been brought up, nor to his mode of life and his mates, every one of which things has a seductive and almost irresistible attraction and power, he departed as speedily as possible, yielding to a free and unrestrained impulse, and first of all he quitted the land of the Chaldaeans, a prosperous district, and one which was greatly flourishing at that period, and went into the land of Charran, and from that, after no very distant interval, he departed to another place, which we will speak of hereafter, when we have first discussed the country of Charran. XV.
5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Cherubim, 3-5, 51, 6-10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. Why then do we wonder if God once for all banished Adam, that is to say, the mind out of the district of the virtues, after he had once contracted folly, that incurable disease, and if he never permitted him again to return, when he also drives out and banishes from wisdom and from the wise man every sophist, and the mother of sophists, the teaching that is of elementary instruction, while he calls the names of wisdom and of the wise man Abraham, and Sarah. IV. 10. He also considered this point, in the second place, that it is indispensable that the soul of the man who is about to receive sacred laws should be thoroughly cleansed and purified from all stains, however difficult to be washed out, which the promiscuous multitude of mixed men from all quarters has impregnated cities with;
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Preliminary Studies, 10-12, 125, 13-18, 180, 19, 2, 20-27, 3, 34-39, 4, 40-44, 49, 5, 50-51, 53, 56-58, 6, 61, 63, 65, 7-9, 1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1. But Sarah the wife of Abraham had not borne him any child. And she had an Egyptian handmaiden, who name was Hagar. And Sarah said unto Abraham, Behold, the Lord has closed me up, so that I should not bear children; go in unto my handmaiden that thou mayest have children by Her.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Change of Names, 61-62, 67, 76-80, 130 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

130. Having now discussed at sufficient length the subject of change and alteration of names, we will turn to the matters which come next in order in our proposed examination. Immediately after the events which we have just mentioned, came the birth of Isaac; for after God had given to his mother the name of Sarrah instead of Sarah, he said to Abraham, "I will give unto thee a Son." We must consider each of the things here indicated particularly.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 1.33 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.33. Therefore now the fourth element is incomprehensible, in the world of heaven, in comparison of the nature of the earth, of the water, and of the air; and the mind in man, in comparison of the body and the outward sense, and the speech, which is the interpreter of the mind; may it not be the case also, that for this reason the fourth year is described as holy and praiseworthy in the sacred scriptures?
9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.13 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.13. Some persons have conceived that the sun, and the moon, and the other stars are independent gods, to whom they have attributed the causes of all things that exist. But Moses was well aware that the world was created, and was like a very large city, having rulers and subjects in it; the rulers being all the bodies which are in heaven, such as planets and fixed stars;
10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 213, 212 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

212. The most ancient person of the Jewish nation was a Chaldaean by birth, born of a father who was very skilful in astronomy, and famous among those men who pass their lives in the study of mathematics, who look upon the stars as gods, and worship the whole heaven and the whole world; thinking, that from them do all good and all evil proceed, to every individual among men; as they do not conceive that there is any cause whatever, except such as are included among the objects of the outward senses.
11. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.244 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

12. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 97-99, 96 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

96. The scripture proceeds: "And he said unto him I am God, who brought thee out of the land of the Chaldaeans, so as to give thee this land to inherit it." These words exhibit not only a promise, but a confirmation of an ancient promise;


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27; Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 151
allegory Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 151
aristotle Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
astrology Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
chaldeans Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
cosmos Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
deity, deities Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
god, representations of, creator Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 128
hagar Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 151
heavenly bodies Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
hierarchy, of being (scala naturae) Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
idolatry, action Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 128
idolatry, error Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 128
idols, lifeless Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 128
idols, manmade' Rogers, God and the Idols: Representations of God in 1 Corinthians 8-10 (2016) 128
philo of alexandria, on cult statues Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
philo of alexandria, on heavenly bodies Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
philo of alexandria Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
plato Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
platonism, platonists Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
sarah Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 151
stoics, stoicism Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 27
virginity Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 151
wisdom Sly, Philo's Perception of Women (1990) 151